In this movie filmed and released in 1961 (and not a 1962 production), an escaped convict returns to town and begins a reign of terror. Marked for death are Dr. Dean Knudtson, his wife ...
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In this movie filmed and released in 1961 (and not a 1962 production), an escaped convict returns to town and begins a reign of terror. Marked for death are Dr. Dean Knudtson, his wife Janice, formerly married to the killer, and Jeff Baxley, on whose testimony the man was originally sent to prison. Sheriff Charles Morton and deputy Sam Freed head a posse tracking down the killer in the desert. The man is found dead of the wounds inflicted by a prison guard trying to prevent his escape. The sheriff resigns his job and heads west with Joan. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Sam is practicing handling his pistol]
You're overdoin' that, boy. That fast gun business is overrated.
Yeah, I know, Sheriff, but since I watched you handle a gun, well, I-I got a lot to learn.
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Plays more like one of those forgettable episodes in a TV Western series of the day. There are a few imaginative touches, but unfortunately they're left to the end. A convict with a confusingly complicated past has escaped prison and now the sheriff (James Brown) has to bring him in. But that proves difficult since the convict knows the territory better than anyone else and has a helpful sister.
You've got to hand it to the producers who hired the slightly paunchy, slightly over-age Brown for the central role. He's hardly a romantic figure, but that does make sense at the end. Likely that's also why the unnecessary role of the young deputy was inserted. The movie's main problem is too much talk for too many actors with too little ability (with notable exceptions, like Jean Willes and John Pickard), along with too many clichés about cowardly townspeople-- think High Noon.
The sometimes muddled script doesn't help either, (e.g. how does the sheriff know about the bank withdrawal). Then there's the "sweep" of the territory by a posse of about a half-dozen men. Spread out, they have about as much chance of catching the convict as a broom does of catching a mouse in a football stadium. It just doesn't pass the laugh test.
The only possible venue for a cheapie like this was a drive-in somewhere in the boondocks on a rainy night. So why did I watch it. Probably because I was one of the beer-swillers at that drive-in.
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